How to Make a Better Pringles Can

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About: My name is Jason Poel Smith I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius



The Pringles can was a brilliant invention. It helps prevent the chips from breaking and keeps them fresh. But it has one major drawback. Getting chips from the bottom of the can is inconvenient. The can is too narrow for many adult hands and you will usually get your hand covered in the favor powder that builds up on the inside walls of the can.

So to get around this problem, you can either pour the chips onto a plate or design a better Pringles can. I chose the latter. There are a lot of ways that the Pringles can could be modified to work better. The design that I chose uses an adjustable platform for the chips so that they can be raised as the chips are consumed. The platform is loosely held in place by the friction and is adjusted by pulling on the platform with a loop of string that is attached to the lid.

Step 1: Materials

To make this mod you will need the following items:

Thin sheet metal that is suitable for use with food (I used a dollar store baking sheet)
Needle nose pliers
Tin snips
A Sharpie (optional)
Dental floss (or thread)

Step 2: Cut the Sheet Metal to Shape

Start by cutting out a 5in(12.7cm) diameter circle from your piece of sheet metal. Then draw a 2.5in(6.3cm) diameter circle inside your cutout. Be careful to keep the circles centered. The area inside inner circle will be the platform for the chips. The outer portion of the cutout will be used to make the spring-loaded supports that hold the platform in place.

Next we need to cut slots in the outer portion of the plate. The number and size of the slots is not crucial. I made about 40 slots that were about 3/16in wide.  

It may help to first draw a series of lines through the center of the plate. This gives you a guide to help keep the cut lines straight.

Step 3: Bend Down the Spring Supports

Using the needle nose pliers, bend the metal strips down a little less than 90 degrees. They should be flared out to be a little wider than the can. This helps insure than these strips will press firmly on the inside of the can. Then bend the end of each strip inward a little further. This helps prevent the tips from getting caught on anything when it is inserted into the can.

This is the chip platform that will be used to support the stack of chips. In a commercial version of this design the platform could easily be created from molded plastic. But for a rough DIY prototype, metal is more convenient to work with.

Step 4: Thread the Floss From the Lid to the Platform

Using the ends of the tin snips or another sharp object, punch two small holes in opposite sides of the plastic lid. Then cut off a piece of floss/thread that is about 24in(61cm) in length. Thread the floss through these holes so that the two ends come out of the bottom of the lid. Then tie the ends together. Feed this loop through the teeth of the metal platform.

This loop of floss is what will be used to pull on the platform to raise the chip level. This platform adjuster could also be made from other materials. It could also be made from a single rod with an arm bent underneath the platform. Any method will work as long as it is capable of applying even vertical force to raise the platform.

Step 5: Put the Assembly in the Can

Insert the metal platform into the Pringles can and slide it to the bottom. If some of the cardboard on the inside of the can is sticking out, there is a chance that the platform may get stuck. If this happens, just spin the platform clockwise and it will come loose.

Then all you have to do put the chips back in the can and you are done. The easiest way that I have found to get Pringles back in the can without breaking them is to make an upside down stack of chips, slide the can over the top and then carefully flip them back upright. Then whenever you want to raise the level of the chips, just pull up on the lid. The strings will pull up on the platform raising the chips, and friction should hold it in place.

This may not be very practical to do at home with every can of chips. But it does show that there are simple ways to improve the design of the Pringles can. If you can think of another product that is annoying or inconvenient, leave a comment and I will choose some of the better ones to improve in a later project.

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    57 Discussions

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    MadonnaB

    3 years ago

    Some people have way to much time on their hands...I would nevvver do this...I could have that whole can ate before he got the bottom cut out!

    1 reply
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    zposner

    1 year ago

    cool idea

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    elyseDIY

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Your idea is good but I use a lazier one... ;)
    What about a simple sheet of paper (letter size) folded in half.
    You curve the paper a little, insert it in the can.
    You place the can on its side (paper under the chips, of course).
    You pull the paper and VOILÀ !
    Just my 2 cents..

    Pringles.jpg
    1 reply
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    pete.hohensee

    3 years ago

    What about just tipping the can over? Too simple? Too easy?

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    drabinowitz

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Here's the good copy of the designs.
    DESIGN 1: By using a short can instead of circle sheet metal, the slots don't catch on to the inside of the can when you push the chip platform down. Also, by cutting a long slot in the pringles can itself and through that slot attaching a riser to the can, it's much easier to raise and lower the chip platform. A downside is the lost space for chips.
    DESIGN 2: In this design, it works like a push-pop. The chip platform is raised/lowered by pushing or pulling a stick handle which would feed through a hole cut in the bottom of the pringle's can (ignore that part in my picture about the orange ring- a hole in the bottom of the can would be easier and more practical). This design is better because it allows for much more space for chips and is easier to construct.

    pringles concept 2.png
    8 replies
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    ChronicDdrabinowitz

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    lol just had a closer look at your idea 2 and realised i just proposed the same thing minus the handle which makes complete sense to be taped to outside!

    however i would say you dont need two platforms at the bottom as the lower one is redundant as really the push stick does not need a guide hole.

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    drabinowitzChronicD

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    "Guide hole" meant the hole the handle would follow through. Without it it would easily fall apart. It would just be a small hole cut in the base.

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    blackcorvodrabinowitz

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    what about a flexible plastic base that is a tiny bit more wide than the can, plus that side slider idea of yours, so that when you press the slider into the can, the plastic base is bent and allows you to move it up and down, but when it's released, it get's back to it's original shape, forcing outwards against the can's wall and holding the chips in place.
    That would take the space of like 3 chips.

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    drabinowitzblackcorvo

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    That's a good idea, then you run into the problem of the flexible base dislodging from the side slider (setting it off from perpendicular), which would make it hard to remove from the can... it has to have something attached to that flexible base... what if that idea was modified to have a long, thin rail (like train tracks) on the inside of the can, so the base would always stay perpendicular.

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    blackcorvodrabinowitz

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    ...or you could have sliders on both sides, and to make the base move you just press 'em into the can.

    Yeah, the push pop was actually my original inspiration for the design. But I decided to go with an actuator on the top so that it doesn't have a stick coming out of the side that would make it more inconvenient to store and handle.

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    ChronicD

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hello,

    Enjoyed reading through this and as a guy with bug hands appreciate the solution. As soon as i cant reach the Pringles with my finger tips i have to tilt the container over and slide some into my hand - potentially covering myself, or at least the floor in crumbs.

    So i would reduce your design somewhat as there are too many new connections in the mod.

    Also would the design needs to specify whether this would be a Pringles can accessory (possibly third party) or a design that would be sold to Pringles as a modification to there packaging for manufacturing at a factory?

    in either case my idea would be to simply the concept by identifying the goal and coming up with the least number of parts to achieve it. In this case its to get Pringles out the can without having to put your hand in.

    I would take the concept of a plastic cylinder toothpaste holder or a builders glue gun tube where you have a platform with O ring seal in the bottom of the can that you simply push up and extrude the Pringles as desired.

    Things to consider in this are;

    1. The platform could be sold separately and with the idea being that you cut off the bottom of the Pringles can (possibly with can opener? or knife) and insert the movable platform.

    2. The bottom of the can is no longer there and the Pringles factory make the tubes with the platform inside at the factory (note there may have to be a light sheet metal rim at the base to maintain structural rigidity.

    3. As the Pringles are eaten the platform needs to go "up" and you will reach the point where your fingers cant reach - however instead of putting your hand in you can choose to push it up with a spoon or something instead. otherwise you could use your hand and if the O ring has done the job right there shouldn't be much there to get on your hand.

    hope that all makes sense. now back to work :)

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    mightywombat

    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is a cool idea, but it seems like a lot of work to solve a little problem. Plus, you would have to take all the chips out of the can to install your chip lift and then put all the chips back before eating them! When they get that low I just tilt the can until the chips slide out..

    1 reply

    You don't have to take all the chips out if the factory does this for you. The factory would: make the can, put this contraption in, fill it with chips, seal it.
    Then all you have to do is: open can, eat chips, pull string, eat more chips.